July 10, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Teaching and paying teachers
Lawmakers have let down education
After reading Eli Broad’s column, coupled with hearing the teachers’ radio ad indicating our state ranked 47th in the nation, I am just seething with outrage. [“A better way to train teachers,” Opinion, July 6.]
In 1962, while my husband studied for his master’s degree at Columbia University, I taught 22 fourth-graders, because 26 students was the maximum class size for the local school district. The principal gave me a 3-inch-thick catalog of educational supplies and instructed me to order whatever I needed to implement the curriculum.
During the week, my fourth-graders attended a hands-on science lab, two physical-education classes, an art and a music class. These specialty classes were taught by teachers who had majored in these fields and had the equipment, time and classroom space to develop growing minds with attention paid to left- and right-brain development and physical growth coordination.
The year before, I had been a teacher in Seattle, with 45 sixth-graders in my reading group. I passed out science books and available art materials, and threw a ball in the middle of the gym for physical education.
On Long Island, where food, clothing and transportation were more available and cheaper than Seattle, my annual salary was $5,900, compared with Seattle’s $4,600.
Our founders knew that, to have a functioning democracy, they had to educate the masses. For the past 40 years, on both the state and national levels, our lawmakers, who do not decrease their incomes, have multiplied the military-industrial budgets and purposefully limited education to a shoestring bottom line. This has led to dumbing down the masses and putting higher-education costs out of reach.
Fran Lilleness, Shoreline
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